News Article

Toyoda And Lumileds Agree Deal To Share Patents

Two of the "big 5" LED chip manufacturers say that their patent agreement will help to accelerate the development of higher-brightness LEDs.

LED manufacturers Toyoda Gosei and Lumileds Lighting have signed a deal allowing the two companies mutual access to some of their key chip technologies.

Under the deal, Japan-based Toyoda will be able to use Lumileds AlGaInP technology for high-brightness red LEDs, while the two firms will share valuable intellectual property relating to GaN-based blue emitters.

According to a joint statement issued by Toyoda and "Philips Lumileds", as Lumileds is now known, the agreement will allow the two companies more freedom in their development efforts.

"By facilitating research at both companies, new developments in LED technology are anticipated, including an acceleration of research to improve the luminosity of LEDs."

According to a report in the Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Toyoda has seen a significant drop in sales of LEDs over the past couple of years, and the development of brighter chips for general lighting applications is seen as a key part of its plan to turn around the business.

The patent share is the latest in a number of similar agreements struck up by leading LED makers in recent years. However, Philips Lumileds remains engaged in a legal battle with Taiwan-based Epistar regarding certain critical process technologies relating to AlGaInP chips (see related story).

The US-based International Trade Commission is investigating the issue and could enforce trading restrictions against Epistar if it finds in favor of Lumileds.

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